Sales and marketing have traditionally held somewhat parallel paths, rarely coming in contact with each other. Unfortunately, however, this has often led to mistrust between the two, as well as missed opportunities and lost revenue.
Many businesses are turning their attention toward account-based marketing (ABM) to prevent these problems. It is an approach that aims to bring sales and marketing together and solve common problems.
Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
Since ABM focuses on accounts instead of individual leads, marketing pros and their sales counterparts start speaking the same language. For years, marketers had to create campaigns for particular industries and markets, while sales was focused on engaging with those most likely to buy.
With ABM, both departments are focusing on target accounts and are working toward a common goal. To put it simply, arguments over lead quantity vs. lead quality disappear, while marketing and sales become a single, cohesive unit.
Statistics show that organizations which have their sales and marketing teams aligned experience annual revenue growth of 32%. By comparison, companies with misaligned teams see a 7% decrease in overall growth. Similarly, organizations with aligned teams see 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales than their competitors.
How Account-Based Marketing Helps Sales Reps
Sales reps would usually identify a decision-maker within an organization and would then focus all of their efforts on them. A typical organization has anywhere in between six and seventeen decision-makers, meaning that this approach often yields poor results, particularly when it comes to significant and vital sales.
ABM circumvents this issue by focusing its marketing efforts on all stakeholders within an account, rather than just the first executive the sales rep encountered. It is done by aligning sales and marketing throughout the entire sales funnel. It will result in a far better and more personalized approach for sales reps (both inside and face-to-face), where each decision-maker is offered data and material according to their preferences and viewpoints. It is a more effective strategy than using a generic message across the entire stakeholder chain of command.
The Roles and Responsibilities of Sales and Marketing in ABM
Now, even though both departments need to work together, each of them has their specific roles and responsibilities within the greater strategy.
- Targeting Accounts and Defining Prospects – Being on the frontlines of interaction, sales provides marketing with the necessary insights to iterate and scale the ABM account.
- Providing Sales Cycle Insights – The sales team also needs to provide insights regarding sales cycle lengths to the ABM team, thus enabling them to generate the proper materials to the right accounts, at the right time.
- Territory Configuration – Sales also needs to make sure that their territory configuration and account delegation is sustainable based on the capacity and abilities of each of the sales team members.
- Managing Accounts – Sales needs to retain them as customers, upsell whenever possible, as well as close the accounts when the situation calls for it.
Make use of personalization and actionable insights to engage with account executives. It includes the use of strategic sales tools provided by marketing, one-on-ones, field marketing during trade shows, etc. Lastly, they should engage in personalized follow-ups such as emails, phone calls, meetings, etc.
Some of the marketing roles include the following:
- Sales Enablement – Marketing is responsible for creating, maintaining, and optimizing all materials that will help sales in their account management tasks. Among these materials, we can include things such as specific campaign action items (emails, LinkedIn messaging, phone call talking points, etc.), field marketing materials, and follow-up reminders.
- Optimized Account Materials and Campaigns – Marketing is in charge of personalizing campaigns and materials that can reach and convert the right account at the right time. These can include everything from web pages, emails, direct mail, adverts, downloadables, social media posts, messaging, etc.
- Measuring and Performance Tracking – Furthermore, marketing needs to keep track of the efficacy of the ABM strategy both before and after launch. KPIs that need to be taken into consideration fall into three main categories:
- Coverage – number of contacts in an account, missing contacts in an account, contacts with personas, the potential number of contacts in an account, etc.
- Engagement – number of account touches for both sales and marketing, conversation length between sales and target accounts, number of web visits from the target account, number of meetings with the target account, etc.
- Results – number of total deals, deal types, deal sizes, relationship improvements, sales funnel velocity, retention rates, etc.